Photo/Illutration Tokyo pedestrians wear face masks and use parasols as temperatures sizzled on Aug. 7. (Nobuo Fujiwara)

Health authorities reported a record number of COVID-19 infections nationwide on Aug. 7, an ominous start to the Bon holiday season that kicked off the same day.

Millions of Japanese traditionally return to their hometowns at this time of year to honor the spirits of their ancestors and be reunited with family members and old friends.

The nationwide tally as of 10:50 p.m. on Aug. 7 stood at 1,608 new cases, including record daily figures in four prefectures. Aug. 7 marked the fourth straight day of more than 1,000 fresh COVID-19 cases.

The previous national record was the 1,571 cases reported on July 31.

The four prefectures with record daily figures were Osaka, Okinawa, Shiga and Akita.

Akita in northern Japan reported its first infection cluster with 14 cases confirmed on Aug. 7, far exceeding the previous daily high of two.

The 14 cases were all related to a local corporate basketball team, with the infections found among players, their family members, team staff and a referee who was involved in one of the games played by the team.

Osaka reported 255 cases, while nearby Shiga had 31.

Okinawa reported 100 new cases, the first time the figure in the southernmost prefecture has reached triple digits.

COVID-19 infections were also confirmed in outlying islands in the prefecture, including Miyakojima, Ishigakijima and Iriomotejima.

The Justice Ministry also announced Aug. 7 the first case of a foreign national who overstayed his visa being confirmed infected with COVID-19 at one of the detention facilities run by the Immigration Services Agency.

The infected man in his 50s was awaiting deportation.